Phytoremediation is the direct use of living green plants for in situ, or in place, removal, degradation, or containment of contaminants in soils, sludges, sediments, surface water and groundwater. Phytoremediation is a low cost, solar energy driven cleanup technique.
In the past century, several explosive compounds have become the major soil contaminants causing health and economic challenges to the society. The two most dangerous explosives, 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) and hexahydro-1,3,5- trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (Royal Demolition Explosive; RDX), are major environmental pollutants. These explosives are classified as Class 1 carcinogens, which are retained in soil and are refractory to degradation. Therefore, understanding the biology behind the metabolism of these explosives by microorganisms and plants is imperative to degrade these pollutants from the contaminated soil. The major goal of the scientific community is to identify enzymes that are capable of efficiently degrading TNT and RDX, followed by the introduction of these enzymes in plants (transgenic plants) for efficient phytoremediation. Phytoremediation using transgenic plants is a promising solution to many problems of environmental contamination. It utilizes transgenic plants for uptake, sequestration, detoxification, or volatilization of inorganic and organic pollutants from soils, water, sediments, and possibly air. In nearly 20 years of research, many transgenic plants for phytoremediation have been produced, however, very few have shown promises in commercial applications. The recent results of the remediation of RDX has been obtained by the expression of bacterial xplA xplB system in Arabidopsis, which showed the ability to remediate saturating levels of RDX from liquid culture and soil leachate. This promising finding has facilitated the transfer of this technology into plants, such as poplar hybrids, which grows quickly and produces relatively high biomass. C
Last date updated on June, 2014